The Wild O'Honey Buzz: Dancing through '22, Irish Edition
March is Irish month in the US, built around the Feast Day of Saint Patrick on the 17th. I've always loved this holiday and assumed I had Irish ancestry. I was delighted when this was confirmed through DNA testing a few years ago. It turns out that my English, Wales and Scottish percentages surpass my Irish, so it's perhaps more accurate to say that I have Celtic roots which would encompass all of these places. My DNA testing revealed seven regions of the world where my ancestors originated!
The main reason I love being "just a tad bit Irish" is that it's fun! All of the traditions around Saint Patrick's Day are fun: wearing green, wearing "Kiss me I'm Irish" buttons, drinking green beer or a taste of whiskey, feeling lucky, dancing, playing and listening to Celtic music, celebrating the history of the Irish in America and the beautiful spiritual traditions so intrinsically tied to the natural world. Did I mention potatoes? Gosh, I love potatoes! As the saying goes, "On Saint Patrick's Day everyone is Irish!"
One of the best books I've ever read about Irish culture is Thomas Cahill's "How the Irish Saved Civilization: The Untold Story of Ireland's Heroic Role from the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe." He tells the story of how the Irish painstakingly hand copied Western literature - everything they could get their hands on - when the Roman Empire fell and books were being burned and art pieces destroyed. The beautifully illustrated book of the Christian Gospels, The Book of Kells in the Trinity College library in Dublin is an example of the work of the Irish monks to preserve sacred texts during the Dark Ages.
I am currently reading, "Sacred Earth, Sacred Soul: Celtic Wisdom for Reawakening to What Our Souls Know and Healing the World" by John Phillip Newell. I am particularly enjoying reading about the Irish Saint, Brigid, whose Feast Day on February 1 was designated as a National Bank Holiday in Ireland this year. Newell also includes a chapter about John Muir, the great Scottish-American environmentalist whose philosophy gets to the heart of Celtic wisdom. He believed that every life form and every rock formation is "throbbing" and "pulsing" with the Divine. This explains why I can feel the energy in the heart shaped stones that I pick up while beach combing and hiking. "Even the stars," writes Muir, "are being pulsed onward by the heart of God." It is my belief that one way to access the heart of God is through the study of the planets as they are aligned in one's astrological chart. This study of the ancient art and science of astrology when combined with modern psychology can be truly transformative and healing.
In today's era of climate change and extreme weather events brought about by human activity, one of the most important teachings of Celtic wisdom is the link between Heaven and Earth and the belief that what we do to the sacred body of the Earth, we do to God.
I love Irish poet, William Butler Yeats' poem, "The Lake Isle of Innisfree," especially the last gorgeous line in which he writes that he can hear the lake water lapping in the "deep heart's core." In my deep heart's core, I can hear the voices of my Celtic ancestors and am grateful for their understanding that all creatures and parts of creation on Earth contain a spark of the Divine and deserve our respect and care. My poem "Irish Ancestors" is my tribute to these wise souls.
What about you? Do you have Irish or Celtic ancestry or enjoy celebrating Irish culture on Saint Patrick's Day? Who are some of your favorite Irish writers, saints, musicians, etc.? I confess that I went through a "U2 phase" and even my nickname, Wild Honey, was inspired by a song by this Irish band! What about Irish Americans? We love Macklemore in Seattle, and I'm told that in many households in Ireland, one can easily find a framed photo of John F. Kennedy! Conan O'Brien makes me laugh so hard! Wow, so many people come to mind! God bless the Irish, Erin go Braugh!
Here is an Irish Blessing for you:
May the light always find you on a dreary day.
When you need to be home, may you find the way.
May you always have the courage to take a chance,
and never find frogs in your underpants!
Love and luck to all,
Wild O' Honey